While an increasing number of studies indicate that the range, diversity and abundance of many wild pollinators has declined, the global area of pollinator-dependent crops has significantly increased over the last few decades. Crop pollination studies to date have mainly focused on either identifying different guilds pollinating various crops, or on factors driving spatial changes and turnover observed in these communities. The mechanisms driving temporal stability for ecosystem functioning and services, however, remain poorly understood. Our study quantifies temporal variability observed in crop pollinators in 21 different crops across multiple years at a global scale. Using data from 43 studies from six continents, we show that (i) higher pollinator diversity confers greater inter-annual stability in pollinator communities, (ii) temporal variation observed in pollinator abundance is primarily driven by the three-most dominant species, and (iii) crops in tropical regions demonstrate higher inter-annual variability in pollinator species richness than crops in temperate regions. We highlight the importance of recognizing wild pollinator diversity in agricultural landscapes to stabilize pollinator persistence across years to protect both biodiversity and crop pollination services. Short-term agricultural management practices aimed at dominant species for stabilizing pollination services need to be considered alongside longer term conservation goals focussed on maintaining and facilitating biodiversity to confer ecological stability.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences|
|State||Published - Mar 31 2021|
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
the R code for the initial data analyses, and along with M.A., M.P.D.G., D.K., B.J.P., S.G.P. and A.M.K. was involved in helping structure subsequent data analyses and in commenting on several early drafts of the manuscripts. B.B. produced the insect illustrations used in figure 1 in addition to contributing data. All other authors provided the data used in the analyses and contributed to revisions of the manuscript. Competing interests. We declare we have no competing interests. Funding. This study was supported EU COST Action Super-B project (STSM-FA1307-150416-070296) and D.S. by the University of Reading Research Endowment Trust Fund (E3530600) and NERC KE Fellowship NE/S006400/1. J.F. by DFG grant FR 3364/4-1; L.G.C.
© 2021 The Authors.
- dominant species
- insect diversity
- inter-annual variation
- temporal stability
PubMed: MeSH publication types
- Journal Article
- Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't